During its run, NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” was typically in the position of stopping crime. But now the show has found itself in its own legal entanglement.
A U.S. District Court judge has denied NBC’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Anurag Tiwari, clearing the way for the suit to go to court. U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen did dismiss Tiwari’s defamation claim, however.
Tiwari, who was filmed going into one of the show’s “sting houses” in Petaluma, Calif., in 2006, is suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming that NBC had instructed police to arrest him in a particularly dramatic fashion for the cameras’ benefit, with the deliberate intent of humiliating him.
NBC had sought to have the claims dismissed, and also to have a protective order filed against Tiwari, claiming that their actions fell within their First Amendment rights to report a story.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen found that “a reasonable jury could find that it wasn’t necessary for police to arrest Tiwari in a sensational way, or film him being restrained in handcuffs during his detention and interview with police.”
The good news for NBC? Chen granted its request to dismiss Tiwari’s defamation claim about the epilogue to the show. He determined that “the epilogue taken in context is substantially true” and would do little to change the public’s impression of Tiwari’s actions, given what they had seen in the broadcast.
NBC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.